The world’s greatest flower show returns later this month (24-28 May), promising five days of horticultural heaven.
The 2022 RHS Chelsea Flower Show in the grounds of the Royal Hospital Chelsea in London will be a feast for the eyes with acres of inspiring garden designs and fabulous floral displays. The show has a rich royal history spanning over a decade – King George V and Queen Mary visited in the 1930s and recent royal moments include The Queen, The Price of Wales and The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Whether you’ll be flocking to SW3 or not, garden enthusiasts seeking an early summer escape need look no further than the glorious gardens at Pride of Britain Hotels:
West Sussex – Gravetye Manor
Grade I listed Elizabethan Gravetye Manor (pictured above in spring and summer) is a country house where wood-panelled rooms and exquisitely carved fireplaces blend seamlessly with a glass-fronted dining room which brings the natural beauty of the gardens inside. The hotel is set in 1,000 acres of landscaped gardens, created by pioneering gardener and horticultural writer William Robinson, who lived here from 1884.
Today, the historically influential gardens are lush with layers of blooms. Look out for jewel-like tulips in the flower garden and walk in wild meadows and orchards. A flourishing walled kitchen garden provides produce used in the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant. Gravetye Manor hosts popular floral workshops, talks and lunches during spring and summer, often led much-loved garden writers or Chelsea Flower Show medal winning florists.
The North York Moors National Park is also proud to be celebrating its Platinum anniversary in 2022. There will be an action-packed itinerary of special events, family activities, guided walks and exhibitions. Hear the stories of the National Park over the last 70 years while learning about wildlife, local history and archaeology (2 March-6 November) on A Breath of Fresh Air guided walk or join The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Beacons at various sites across the North York Moors, including Danby Beacon.
Across The North of England on the four-day Jubilee weekend in June, there will be street parties galore, beacon lightings and fireworks.
The Cotswolds – Barnsley House
Close your eyes and imagine The Cotswolds. It’s likely you’ll picture a dreamy scene reminiscent of Barnsley House, a wisteria-clad, 17th century chic retreat in a picturesque honey-stone village in the heart of the Cotswolds. The house was once the family home of acclaimed garden designer Rosemary Verey, who advised Prince Charles on his garden at Highgrove.
The bucolic garden’s horticultural highlights include a potager, knot garden, secluded pathways, statues by Simon Verity and borders of magnolias, tulips and white spirea. The hotel runs garden tours led by passionate and knowledgeable Head Gardener, Jennifer Danbury. Tours include lunch inspired by the garden produce available on the day or afternoon tea. Tickets from £35 per person.
Wales – Bodysgallen Hall
Situated above the perfectly preserved Victorian seaside town of Llandudno, Bodysgallen Hall boasts 15 antique-filled bedrooms and is surrounded by over 200 acres of its own parkland and beautiful gardens. Situated on a peninsular with terraces tumbling down the hillside and views to Snowdonia, the gardens here are a spectacular sight. Well known for its colourful 17th century box hedged parterre, the gardens, which featured on Glorious Gardens from Above (BBC One), are also home to medlar and mulberry, several enchanting follies, a lily pond and a rose garden. Throughout the year, Bodysgallen offers floristry demonstrations and tours led by Head Gardener Robert Owen, who has worked here for over 35 years.
Buckinghamshire – Hartwell House & Spa
The revered English landscape architect Capability Brown transformed 90 acres of countryside surrounding Hartwell House & Spa in the Vale of Aylesbury in the 18th century. The National Trust-owned, Grade 1 listed, Jacobean and Georgian house on the edge of the Chiltern Hills is the perfect setting to discover vibrant spring blooms (the hotel’s spring garden has been planted with over 10,000 daffodils), while other eye-catching displays include primroses and anemones.
The park has a curious collection of pavilions and monuments, including a Gothic tower, a triumphal arch and an iconic temple, which are dotted amongst grand statues, winding canals and an ornamental stone bridge. The hotel hosts popular summer garden tours and lunches with Head Gardener, Richard Jones. Tickets from £36 per person.
Scotland – Glenapp Castle
Standing high above the dramatic Ayrshire coast, Glenapp Castle is an enchanting Scottish Baronial castle with fairytale turrets, battlements and oak-panelled halls. Set in an area of outstanding natural beauty with 110 acres of private estate and local woodland, the grounds boast many extraordinary plants from around the world which date to Victorian times. There are well-tended lawns, winding pathways, a wooded glen and a Gertrude Jekyll-designed Italian garden to explore. Next month (May 2022), the castle opens The Azalea, Glasshouse & Bothy Restaurant in the Walled Garden which will provide much of the produce for the dishes on the menu (curry plants, marigold leaves and rhubarb grow a few feet away).
Dine amongst fig and peach trees or under 100-year-old vines. Having originally been built in the late 1800s, the 130-year-old Azalea Glasshouse provides a historical dining experience in one of the UK’s most distinctive venues. The Victorian Mackenzie and Moncur Victorian Glasshouse is one of only a few remaining in Scotland and there is a similar Glasshouse situated on The Queen’s Balmoral Estate.
Hampshire – Lainston House
17th century Lainston House sits in 63 acres of landscaped gardens and parkland just four miles from the historic city of Winchester. The parkland is home to a beautiful sundial garden and, perhaps its most striking feature, the longest line of lime trees in England, planted circa 1716. The hotel opens the garden gate throughout the year for weekday tours (with tea) of the kitchen garden with kitchen gardener Stefanie, who shares her extensive knowledge of the month-to-month planting undertaken to keep the hotel’s kitchens and cookery school supplied with fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs from plot to plate. Tickets from £5 per person and proceeds go to the Trinity Winchester Charity).